Scientists Protest Treatment of Soviet Jewish Colleague

Physicists from around the world who attended a major international scientific conference in Crete earlier this month protested to Soviet authorities against the refusal to allow Prof. Amen Khachaturyan and his wife, Svetlana, to attend the conference and the continued denial to them of exit visas to emigrate, the World Jewish Congress reported. The professor and his wife, leading experts in the theory of phase transformation, first applied to emigrate to Israel in July, 1981

According to the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, the WJC affiliate in that country, the protest by the physicists at the conference took the form of a letter signed by some 100 participants. In addition, the scientists went on a partial fast in solidarity with the hunger strike that the Khachaturyans and two other Soviet Jewish scientists staged for the duration of the four-day conference.

The other two Soviet scientists were Edward Nadgomyi, an authority in dislocation dynamics, and Leonid Ozemoy, a leading specialist in theoretical astrophysics. They, too, have applied for exit visas to Israel and have been persecuted as a result, according to the WJC.

The protest letter was directed to E. P. Velikov, vice president of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. It stated that the refusal to allow the Khachaturyans’ participation in the conference was “a disservice to international science and reflects badly on your Academy.” It also expressed distress “that this action is only the most recent step in a pattern of professional harassment of the Khachaturyan family.” The letter urged the Soviet government to allow the family to join their relatives abroad.

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